GUYANA: Renda Henry Hung Herself In The Psychiatric Ward -By: Freddie Kissoon | Kaieteur News  

By: Freddie Kissoon | Kaieteur News  

Mar 26, 2021 – Kaieteur News – A young Berbician girl in her mid 20s, Renda Henry, hung herself last week with her bed sheet in the ward of the Berbice Psychiatric Hospital. It was rumoured that she was sexually molested by a family member and that brought on depression which later became intense.

HENRY’S SITUATION IS CURIOUS. She went in and out of the hospital over a period of time. It meant that she was not of a condition that warranted permanent supervision. But if she was eventually admitted then her condition did not improve over the time she was being treated.         

Secondly, it would be interesting to see what the hospital authorities found in her case file. If she was molested and the perpetrator was not investigated then the reality of being a helpless victim could deepen the depression leading to suicidal thoughts. In a majority of cases when people are sexually violated and their molesters are not prosecuted, the feeling of uncontrollable despair sets in. The victim feels that the world has let them down and they abandon hope. Suicide then becomes a compelling option.


Fourthly, aren’t psychiatric patients assigned close, constant monitoring? Even if they are allowed bed sheets, was there no one in the ward that saw her remove the sheet, tied it to a beam and put it around her neck?


I was asked to write this column by two Berbice doctors who told me that conditions at the institution need to be highlighted. I was informed that over the years, the hospital has been badly neglected with patients uncared for. In fact, the picture painted to me, if true, would call for the immediate attention of Georgetown authorities.

When I was told about the tragedy of Ms. Henry, my mind went back to the sempiternal theme that has taken over all my mental horizons – WHY CAN’T GUYANA INCREASE ITS MODERN ATTACHMENT TO THE WORLD LITTLE BY LITTLE AND SLOWLY AND SLOWLY WE WILL GET THERE? 

BUT THAT DOES NOT SEEM TO HAPPEN. I have been a columnist writing for 32 years in which I did weekly columns for the Catholic Standard when there were no independent dailies. All Guyanese crowded the Standard. It brought news to Guyana when there were no private newspapers, private radio stations or television stations.

I GOT RESPONSES FROM FAR AND WIDE BACK IN THOSE DAYS. It was the exact repetition when the Stabroek News was born. I became a weekly columnist there and people would come up to you and there in front of your eyes were the lamentations of the Guyanese nation. In those 32 years, I also did a weekly television interview for a few years and the complaints would pour in. That was long ago. My hair is silver now, my age is advanced. WHAT HAS NOT CHANGED IS MY COUNTRY. 

Would you believe 10, 15, 20 years ago, the complaints I got were about NIS, the Deeds Registry, the Police Force, water and electricity utilities, sad and painful mistreatment at state hospitals, arrogant doctors in both the private and public sectors, the non-functioning of the University of Guyana, parental headaches coping with the Ministry of Education, judicial inexplicabilities, impossibility of accessing important governmental officials, non-functioning telephone numbers, horror stories at City Hall and horror stories at GRA. 

I COULD GO ON BUT THE EXAMPLES WILL FLOW INTO TWO MORE COLUMNS. Which person in Guyana, be it Cabinet minister, judge, police officer, public servant, has been receiving grievances from the public for 32 consecutive years. I am still receiving them and they are the same as those which I got when I was a scrawny Catholic Standard columnist wearing an unkempt hair style in the 1980s.

WHEN THESE TWO DOCTORS TELEPHONED ME ABOUT RENDA HENRY, QUIETLY I SPOKE TO MY MIND WITHOUT THEM HEARING. I said, “Gentlemen, tell me something new, give me something new to write about.” I am going to end this column with one of the angriest episodes in my entire life. I will cite the date I wrote the column but I am still going to briefly repeat some of the contents.

IN OCTOBER 2019, MY CHEAP, TOYOTA VITZ ARRIVED. There were many customers waiting to be served. GRA officials were on lunch. The GNIC, as distinct from GRA, had only one cashier. Wharf officials couldn’t find my keys. When they found them, a parked container truck was blocking my car. The driver had parked and gone for the day. For more details see my column of Sunday, October 27, 2019, “ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR LIFE.”

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)           


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  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/30/2021 at 1:00 am

    The author wrote:

    “When I was told about the tragedy of Ms. Henry, my mind went back to the sempiternal theme that has taken over all my mental horizons – WHY CAN’T GUYANA INCREASE ITS MODERN ATTACHMENT TO THE WORLD LITTLE BY LITTLE AND SLOWLY AND SLOWLY WE WILL GET THERE?”

    I am thinking it may be a helpful start if Guyana stopped calling people with mental health disorders – MAD PEOPLE

  • Dennis Albert  On 03/30/2021 at 9:09 am

    It’s like Guyana is emulating Dubai and Saudi Arabia in a bad way, such as women being treated as second class citizens when they were molested and end up with mental health crises?

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/31/2021 at 11:53 pm

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